Runners, Set New Year's Resolutions
Runners, Set New Year''s Resolutions
By Cheryl McGinnis
"If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves." - Thomas A. Edison
A blank page is exciting. With a splash of color and some masterful brushstrokes, an artist gives it life. As you make the first entry in your 2005 running journal, feel the marvel of unknown and unrealized possibilities pulsing between its covers. Like the new year, this book holds blank pages just waiting to be filled. George Eliot once said, "It is never too late to be what you might have been."
The start of a new running season gives us the chance to make promises of self-improvement: more long runs, regular speed-work, a running camp or perhaps a healthier diet. Now is the time for setting new goals and looking back over last year''s resolutions that never quite stuck.
Take some time for introspection. Learn from the past. Celebrate your successes, but don''t get bogged down in self-criticism over the times you considered yourself a failure. I read a quote recently, "You can''t turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again." Look forward with anticipation. Use your past experiences as a valuable tool in evaluating and considering new goals for this year. Ask yourself pointed questions and give it some thought before answering with complete honesty.
How close did you come to reaching your goal? Determine whether it was attained too quickly and easily or whether it was an unrealistic goal from the very start. Did it require a time commitment that would never fit into your work schedule? You can''t log 80-mile weeks if you already have a 50-hour workweek, a wife and a newborn baby.
Was the goal in sync with your fundamental values so that you were motivated enough to sacrifice and work through any obstacles in order to attain it? Do you really care if you qualify for the Boston Marathon or win your age group? Would you enjoy the experience more fully by just finishing a marathon at a comfortable pace? What took you off track? Examine behavior patterns and habits that interfered with your personal growth. Recognize how those negative habits limit and rob you of living up to your fullest potential. This kind of personal assessment makes us better able to understand what drives us so we can set future goals.
Goals are essential for motivation. In his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," Stephen Covey emphasizes the importance of beginning "with the end in mind." You have to have a clear vision of where you want to be, so that each day and each choice takes you closer to that final destination. The more specific the goal, the more likely it becomes that you will achieve it, by carefully mapping out a plan with a timeline.
Don''t wait. Take that first step now. Procrastination kills dreams. By challenging ourselves, we create a reason to improve. Shoot for a faster time or make plans to run your first marathon and you will feel a greater commitment to train harder.
Setting resolutions and goals is scary. It means that you are accepting the risk of failure. But you are holding that blank running journal and only you can decide how to fill the pages this year. Don''t come to the end of the book and wonder, "What if.?"
If you''ve never been one to dream big dreams, start with a realistic goal. As you develop self-confidence in meeting short-term goals, you will find the inner-strength and discipline to set your sights even higher. The problem is usually not that we set our goals too high, but that we don''t have enough faith in ourselves to set them as high as we should. We are capable of so much more than most of us ever realize. Too often we underestimate our hidden potential. The tragedy is not in failing but in being afraid to try.
But it''s 2005. Anything is possible. Think big. Think positive. Believe in yourself.
Karen Raven expressed this so well when she said, "To achieve all that is possible, we must attempt the impossible. To be as much as we can be, we must dream of being more."
Cheryl McGinnis has a B.A. in English from Centre College, where she served as communications associate, cross-country coach and sports information director. Cheryl was Kentucky''s NCAA Woman of the Year (1993) and National Inspirational Athlete of the year (1994). She is a member of Team USA, most recently winning silver medals in both the 2004 World Triathlon and World Duathlon. She was named All-American in triathlon and duathlon in 2003. Cheryl is also a certified personal fitness specialist and spinning instructor and owner of 2nd Wind, a motivational coaching business with a focus on mental techniques. To contact Cheryl, call 693-7443 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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